The last-ditch effort by Donald Trump’s former “fixer”-turned-“rat” to keep himself out of prison a little longer appears to have failed.
Last week, Cohen offered Democratic lawmakers more dirt on Trump — some 14 million supposedly new-found files of it, in fact — but the chair of the Democrat-controlled House Intelligence Committee signaled Monday that Cohen’s attempt to push back his 3-year prison sentence scheduled to start May 6 by promising his cooperation didn’t work.
In December, Judge William H. Pauley III sentenced Cohen to three years in prison for a variety of crimes, including fraud, lying to Congress, and campaign finance violations. In his emotional plea, Cohen blamed his “blind loyalty” to Trump for his criminal behavior. “I blame myself for the conduct which has brought me here today, and it was my own weakness and blind loyalty to [President Trump] that led me to choose a path of darkness over light,” said Cohen. In testimony to the House Oversight Committee in February, Cohen promised to provide “irrefutable” evidence that his former top client was a “racist,” “conman,” and “cheat” who was guilty of various “illicit acts.” But the hearing quickly became more about Cohen’s various deceptions than convincing evidence of Trump’s alleged wrongdoing.
With his May 6 prison sentence rapidly approaching, Cohen and his lawyers sent a letter to key Democrats last week saying they have just recently gained access to a hard drive that has 14 million files, including voice recordings and emails involving Trump, that investigators would love to have — if only they will help him convince prosecutors to delay the sentencing. In the letter, Cohen’s lawyers said they hoped his sentence “will be substantially postponed while he is fully cooperating with prosecutors and Congress.”
“We hope that this memorandum demonstrates that Mr. Cohen needs to be readily accessible and immediately available to provide ongoing assistance to Congress in order for it to fulfill its executive branch oversight responsibilities,” the letter reads. “Mr. Cohen was only recently able to access a hard drive with important documents.”
“There is no doubt that Mr. Cohen’s testimony, both public and private, has contributed substantially, with documents and other evidence, to triggering additional areas for investigation by law enforcement authorities and Congress,” Cohen’s lawyers insist.
But when asked about Cohen’s offer to provide Democrats a “substantial trove of new information” that could potentially damage Trump in exchange for delayed sentencing on Monday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff suggested it was a no-go.
“I don’t get involved in sentencing matters as a practice,” Schiff told CNN. “I never have in Congress and that’s been my policy.” Though he signaled that he wasn’t willing to help Cohen by arguing for his value as a source of information, Schiff did encourage him to “provide us any materials that he has that are relevant to our investigation.”
CNN notes that the other Democratic lawmakers contacted by Cohen’s lawyers, including House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, have not said whether they intend to offer any help to Cohen.